Member Login



Auto-login for future visits

Join or Renew Today!

Membership Benefits:

Close Button


June 17

Sam Williams, PhD | Jun 17, 2006


The parrot chicks are doing well. Some even have feathers now and they are beginning to look like real birds! Of the nests we can get into, there are 3 with 4 chicks, 4 with 3 chicks and 3 with a single chick. We know of a couple of other nests but they are so deep we can’t get to the chicks and we haven’t checked again with the infra red camera due to electrical cable issues.

One of the single chicks was in a nest of two but sadly the older sibling was killed. What is really unfortunate and peculiar is that it was clearly not by a predator but in fact by an adult parrot. The dead chick had parrot beak bite marks in several places on its head and its upper mandible was broken where it had been bitten.

Rowan has been observing this pair and he has often commented that there are always other birds around and that there is much aggression and displaying from the pair. This typically includes lots of vocalisations, tail fanning and wing raising. It is not clear therefore, whether an individual from one of the other pairs has got into the nest and killed the chick or if it was the parents. I have heard of captive parrot parents being confused, or over enthusiastic and killing chicks but I don’t know if this is a regular thing with wild birds. Perhaps the adults are inexperienced but if that were the case then I would expect the problems to have been when the chick was very young. This chick weighed 142g so he was a good size so I don’t think it was that. There haven’t been any obvious problems with the younger chick fortunately. All in all it’s a bit odd and very sad.

We have put closed rings on a few chicks but in truth we have missed our chance with most of the chicks and we’ll have to put open ones on them. For our purposes it makes little difference as they have the same colours for identification. When we put rings on the chicks we’ll also be taking blood samples for the genetics work, so it’s good to leave it till they are a bit bigger anyway. This week I found the first and so far only, parasite on a chick. It was a tiny bug of some description. From now on I will take a syringe and a small tub so I can collect any bugs and later identify them. But hopefully there won’t be many burdening the chicks!